Analysis: Trump’s smuggling claims would surprise Border Patrol

By Philip Bump | Washington Post

During his Friday announcement that he would declare a national emergency to build a wall on the border with Mexico, President Donald Trump covered a wide range of topics, many related to immigration.

One focus of his remarks was the need for a wall on the border, a case he’s been making repeatedly since the government shutdown began in December. Trump’s rhetoric follows a consistent pattern: Talk about objectively bad things – drug overdoses, human trafficking – and then claim that a wall is necessary to prevent those things from happening.

Here was what he said about those things on Friday and about ports of entry, designated checkpoints on the border where people can enter the U.S. legally.

“A big majority of the big drugs, the big drugloads don’t go through ports of entry,” Trump said. “They can’t go through ports of entry. You can’t take big loads because you have people. We have some very capable people, the Border Patrol, law enforcement, looking.”

“You can’t take human traffick – women and girls, you can’t them through ports of entry, you can’t have them tied up in the back seat of a car or a truck or a van,” he continued. Border agents “open the door. They look. They can’t see three women with tape on their mouth or three women whose hands are tied? They go through areas where you have no wall.”

“Everybody knows that,” he concluded, singling out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “Nancy knows it. Chuck knows it. They all know it. It’s all a big lie. It’s a big con game.”

This is, to put it bluntly, nonsense.

First of all, we know that drugs flow through ports of entry because Trump’s own administration has repeatedly said they do. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


How does Trump’s national emergency declaration affect California?

California was once in the crosshairs of President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration Friday, with indications that the administration might divert money from disaster protection projects to more fencing along the border with Mexico.

That pot of money didn’t appear to be on tap as the president made his declaration Friday, looking instead toward funds for military construction and illegal drug seizure. But California still features prominently in the border fight, with state representatives in Congress leading the opposition.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, joined Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, in a statement condemning the move Friday as a threat to the constitution’s separation of powers.

“This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed president, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process,” Pelosi and Schumer said.

California’s Democratic lawmakers already are promising a court fight.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a joint statement late Thursday that “if the president tries to use a made-up emergency to pay for his border wall then California will see him in court.”

But House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, said he supports the president’s move.

“We face a humanitarian and national security crisis at the border that must be addressed and the president’s declaration is merely a statement of fact,” McCarthy said in a Thursday statement anticipating the move. “With the declaration and other legal authorities, the President has access to important tools to take the steps necessary to secure the border.”

The emergency declaration comes amid a fight over $5.7 billion in funding for improved and extended fencing and barriers along the border with Mexico that Trump has sought over objections from congressional Democrats. The fight led to a record 35-day partial shutdown of the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Letter: HSR between Bakersfield and Merced just a start

HSR between Bakersfield
and Merced just a start

We’ve long believed it made sense for high-speed rail to connect the Central Valley’s agricultural capitol with Silicon Valley’s innovation capital. While we still believe that makes sense, Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to make “dollars and cents” out of an always constrained financial budget.

We respect the governor’s decision to build a usable section of high-speed rail between the cities of Bakersfield and Merced, but let’s underscore that he said it was a starting point, not an ending point.

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He called for an Environmental Impact Report for the entire system, and he’s underscored his funding support for the electrification and modernization of Caltrain, a system that already carries over 65,000 weekday passengers, on track to carry 110,000 daily passengers with electrification by 2022.

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group continues to applaud Gov. Newsom for combining vision with financial stability, and values with fiscal prudence.

Carl Guardino
Silicon Valley Leadership Group

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Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


A man with a 3-D-printed AR-15 and a ‘hit list’ of federal lawmakers is going to prison

By Deanna Paul | The Washington Post

Eric McGinnis knew he was forbidden from using a firearm for two years: He was in court when a Dallas district court judge issued the domestic protective order in 2015. The next year, he was turned away from a gun shop when his background check results showed the order.

Rather than simply wait a few months more, McGinnis decided to sidestep the system.

“I didn’t buy a gun; I built the gun,” he admitted during a recorded jail call with a relative. The 43-year-old Texan also confessed to 3-D-printing the lower receiver, installing the trigger and piecing together the weapon.

In July 2017, McGinnis was found with a partially 3-D-printed AR-15 rifle and a hit list of federal legislators’ names and addresses, according to a statement released by the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Erin Nealy Cox.

A federal judge imposed an eight-year sentence on him on Wednesday, as the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the most significant gun-control legislation to advance this far in years. The measure being considered in Congress would require background checks for all domestic gun sales and most domestic gun transfers.

But McGinnis entirely bypassed any background check.

“We have a violent individual with domestic violence case, a protective order and multiple levels of admonitions,” Nealy Cox said in a phone interview with The Washington Post. “Eric McGinnis circumvented all of that, got a 3-D printer and printed a gun.”

A year before his arrest, McGinnis tried to purchase a receiver — one component needed to assemble a semiautomatic rifle. Nealy Cox said a licensed gun shop refused the sale when it received McGinnis’s background check results, which disclosed the outstanding court order, a restriction set to expire the following month.

Last week, Nealy Cox’s office launched a new initiative to fight …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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